SARAH Cottrill wants to graduate with no more than $10,000 in student debt. Given her financial situation, that means taking advantage of scholarship opportunities.
So the 2010 graduate of Columbus North High School last year applied for and received the Todd and Julie Bergman Scholarship and the Anthony Moravec Scholarship.
Both were for $1,000. They will help Cottrill realize her goal — especially if she gets another scholarship next school year.
Some scholarships for the 2013-14 school year are for one-time gifts of $1,000. Others are for multiple gifts of several thousand dollars that can be continued from one year to the next.
Representatives of at least two Bartholomew County foundations say the point is that plenty of scholarships are out there, if only people have the confidence to apply for them.
Chrissy Alspaugh, scholarship manager for the Heritage Fund, urged people to apply well in advance of the scholarship deadlines.
All Heritage Fund scholarships are due Feb. 15, while other scholarships are due at different times during the next few months.
“Applications are starting to come in slowly, but we expect the majority to come in closer to Feb. 15,”
But she said people who wait until the last minute run the risk of disqualifying themselves because of the possibility that they might forget to sign their name or leave out some other detail that is vital for applications to be processed.
Sherry Stark, executive director for Centra Foundation, said the strong possibility of landing a scholarship is worth the effort. And she said it’s not just about the money.
People who apply for scholarships experience a boost of confidence, she said. They also feel the affirmation that comes from knowing that someone on the outside sees their potential and is willing to put his or her hard-earned money behind it.
But make no mistake: Local recipients and applicants like the money.
Cottrill, 22, is majoring in American sign language, which is offered by Vincennes University at the Indiana School for the Deaf in Indianapolis, and plans to graduate in May.
She said she could have afforded college without scholarships. But, she said those scholarships spared her from student loans that would have burdened her for years.
Laura Heckroth, 24, received the $1,000 Harold Heminger Scholarship and the $7,000 William Keller Scholarship after graduating in 2007 from Columbus North High School.
She went on to graduate from the University of Toledo (Ohio) and currently is in the physical therapy program at IUPUI. She said she is waiting to hear from the Heritage Fund whether the Heminger scholarship will be renewed for another year.
“Receiving scholarships meant a lot, because they helped cut down on my student loans,” Heckroth said. “I didn’t have to stress so much about balancing school and work at the same time.”
Some scholarships require only that recipients live in the county, not that they graduated from a Columbus area high school.
Balkrishna Apte, 31, a Cummins Inc. employee, did not graduate from a local high school. But he qualified for $5,000 from the Edgar and Delora Lauther Memorial Scholarship because he lives in the county.
He is pursuing a degree in finance from Indiana University’s Kelly School of Business in Bloomington and thinks he will graduate in December.
“I have limited funds, and with this $5,000 I can take more classes and get out of there a little sooner,” he said.
Some scholarships fit nontraditional students. And Sandy Horton, 51, has applied for some in the hope that she fits the bill.
She began attending IUPUC in 2009 after losing her job as an X-ray technician at a doctor’s office. She is majoring in general studies with a minor in psychology in the hope of landing a job in case management for the aged and disabled.
In the meantime, she is a full-time medical assistant at Indiana Heart Physicians in Columbus.
But her money is drying up. That’s why she applied with the Heritage Fund for various scholarships and is eagerly waiting to see whether she is one of the fortunate recipients.
“I’m hoping I’ll get some money for the summer,” she said. “I’d have to leave school if I can’t get a